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World Cup Qualifiers: Hungarian Football body defends fans in racism row

Hungarian Football Federation on Friday defended “the vast majority” of the country’s supporters after England players suffered racist abuse at a World Cup qualifier in Budapest.

The body vowed to take action against fans who “entered the field, threw flares and cups” but insisted any “disruptors” were in the minority and, in a statement, did not refer to the racist abuse.

“The vast majority of the sixty thousand fans visiting the Puskas Arena supported the Hungarian national team in a sporting manner, even when the team was already losing,” it said in a statement.

“It is in their defence that the disruptors need to be identified and severely punished.”

The federation said fans identified and found guilty of having entered the field and thrown flares and cups would face a two-year disqualification from sporting events besides fines.

Monkey chants were directed at England players Raheem Sterling and Jude Bellingham during Thursday’s match at the Puskas Arena in Budapest, which the Euro 2020 runners-up won 4-0.

read also:Why CONCACAF, CAF not using VAR in World Cup qualifiers

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FIFA vowed to take action over the abuse, while British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday labelled the incidents “completely unacceptable”.

“I urge (world governing body) @FIFAcom to take strong action against those responsible to ensure that this kind of disgraceful behaviour is eradicated from the game for good,” Johnson wrote on Twitter.

Reacting to his comments Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto warned Johnson against “hypocrisy”.

“With all due respect to the Prime Minister I say that in my opinion hypocrisy should be avoided regarding such a serious question,” he said in a video statement on his Facebook page.

“Everyone could see at the Euro 2020 final (in Wembley) how the English fans behaved with the Italians,” he said.

“You couldn’t even hear the Italian anthem due to the English fans’ booing, not to mention the insults after the game, so hypocrisy has no place in either sport or politics.”

In another Facebook post he asked if the English players who protested about the atmosphere in Budapest also complained about the booing of the Italian anthem before the final in July.

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